The Words of the Sayre Family
Testimony on the Matching of Koichi Nakai and Laurel Sayre
October 16, 2003
In matching my daughter Laurel, to my surprise, we spent very little time consulting lists of "possible candidates" and lots of time talking and really listening to each other, my wife Sally, myself, Laurel and some close friends and above all God and the words and lives of our True Parents. In the end, the decision was really quite easy, which some may find unusual, but it is my experience.
When the announcements came out that parents would be responsible for the matching of their children, this seemed like a very logical next step for me, even though I did not really have any idea how to proceed. My wife and I first agreed that we would talk to Laurel and explain to her that she needed to tell us when she felt she was ready to be matched. We felt that it was important for her to reflect and prepare herself, while we did the same. Initially, she indicated, she was in no hurry, which was fine for us.
What we found out later on and through this entire process was that she began and completed her own process of preparation, but also that we had our own preparation process to go through, as parents to be ready for our role. Laurel did a variety of conditions, which perhaps she will share in the future.
The first step in this journey, for me was to surmise my role in the entire process. It is one thing to believe in God, and quite another to interpret his intent for a specific person or event or in this case both. Our role as parents is to interpret our childís Original Character and their current level of maturity. This "interpretation process" was one of listening for Godís guidance and articulating several key issues for us as parents for Laurel and for whomever we might speak to about Laurel and our family.
Perhaps it is a reflection of my own relationship with God, but I rarely receive revelations, dreams or other signposts. God speaks softly and it is a matter of listening and allowing my mind and spirit to "be still" and hear his voice. God usually guides me to connect with my original mind and from there His viewpoint usually comes as a simple and clear understanding and sense.
Sally and I made time to speak about Laurel, time that was not interrupted. The side benefit of this is that it is exactly what spouses need to do on a regular basis and benefits all relationships in the family. Laurel was away and living at college, so while we saw her regularly, it was not every day. She was already on her own course.
We needed to assist and guide Laurel, but she really had to make certain decisions and conditions on her own. For us this was her articulating that she was ready, actually filling out the blessing forms (which took a few months!) seeing that she was actually following through on her commitments to her CARP mission, to her work with the Sunday School and other 2nd Gen in Philadelphia and being responsible for her own time and spiritual life. We also attended a Blessing Workshop together.
A second big issue for me was that my secular mind could not fathom how young adults could be ready to handle ALL the aspects of a marriage at even 20 or 21, much less 17 or 18. This did not compute at all in my mind. What I finally concluded was that indeed most, if not all kids at 18-20 are not ready for ALL the aspects of marriage, but as usual, the problem was my own thinking.
From the Fallen Worldís standard, a man and a woman must first and foremost be romantically "in love" and next able to support themselves financially. Because The Blessing is not just about love, sex and commitment but also about a new, or should I say original path or tradition. My conclusion was that our children need a commitment to love, a time period to grow into love and finally to take on the other aspects of marriage which include financial independence, sex, children and all the rest! This commitment and their experience of their First Love, the first taste of True Love, are critical to their growth as True Sons and Daughters. So when I asked God, "Are these kids ready to be responsible for their finances, the answer was of course "No!" "They are ready, however to taste First, True Love in a safe and guided process. That is YOUR JOB."
So the process was more clear in my mind, the matching is a starting place for our kids to grow individually and after the matching as a committed couple, free to begin to build a relationship, centered on God and with each other with the support of their families and their extended community of faith.
About the time this was sinking in, Laurel called and said she wanted us to begin prayer about the matching. The next day, Cynthia Nakai called my wife to talk to her about her son Koichi. We felt we needed some time to figure the process out a little more and to attend a Blessing workshop. From the time Cynthia called to the time we actually agreed to the matching along with the Nakai family, almost a year passed. One thing Sally and I agreed upon was that there should be a time period between the matching and the blessing. Laurel was relieved to hear this and this was exactly how the Nakaiís felt about this issue. Articulating this issue to all concerned, was an important step in our journey.
Meeting the Nakai family has been a very special experience. I had dinner one evening with Ruju, Koichiís father and it was really a wonderful experience talking about our kids, their hopes, their character and what might be in store for them. I also had the opportunity to meet the other Nakai children, and they both are happy and wonderful kids. I thought what a wonderful family for Laurel to join and for us to share their lives with. As I said, in the end it was easy, but not quick or without its tensions and confusion. The matching is a process for the entire family and brings the entire family to a new level of faith and relationship, which is why, in my opinion True Parentís in their love and wisdom have entrusted us with this responsibility and tremendous opportunity.
And this process is only beginning. This wonderful couple is not Blessed yet, they have not finished college and their entire lives are ahead of them. We are grateful to have come this far.
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